Saturday, September 22, 2007


The Molecular Research Institute of Tuft's New England Medical Center reported recently the results of a large study of the relationship of statin side effects to the magnitude of lipid lowering achieved.

Common sense says that the higher the statin dose with its resulting fall in cholesterol, the greater the side effect problem, right? If you said right, you are wrong and if you said wrong you are wrong. The results of this study proved to be interesting.

We have learned that the benefit of statin drugs on atherosclerosis with its stroke and heart attacks is not due to cholesterol reduction but to the powerful anti-inflammatory effect of statins.

Atherosclerosis is now considered by most to be an inflammatory process. Cholesterol, our former villain, is now felt to be irrelevant and is there in the plaques solely as an innocent bystander to the body's inflammatory response. And one of the concerns about this new anti-inflammatory role of statins is that it is mediated through inhibition of nuclear factor-kappa B, a transcriptase vital not only to our body's inflammatory response but also our entire immunodefence system. To inhibit inflammation therefore must also inhibit our ability to neutralize viruses, bacteria and mutagenic cells. You cannot have one without the other. If you lower heart attack death rates by the use of statins, you increase cancer death rates. And that is exactly what Alawi and his group found................

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